IOC Adds Women’s 1500, Men’s 800 Distance Events, Mixed Medley Relay for Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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Photo Courtesy: The Japan Times

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The International Olympic Committee has added three new races to the Olympic program for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, according to a report from Inside the Games. A press release from Olympic.org confirmed that report.

A mixed 400 medley relay (two men plus two women) will be added along with the women’s 1500 free and men’s 800 free. That will be bring the total number of pool swimming events up to 35, up from the 32 that had been contested in the previous six Olympiads.

50-meter stroke events and a mixed 400 free relay will not be added to the program. FINA had proposed that the additions of all of these events for the Tokyo Games.

Additionally, the hard cap on the number of total swimmers in the Olympic Games has been cut by 22. This will not affect athletes who achieve the “A” standard for any event, but it will shrink the bubble for athletes who achieve “B” times.

FINA’s proposal for a mixed gender event in synchronized swimming was also shot down. In water water polo, team sizes were cut down while two women’s teams were added for a net reduction of 18 athletes.

“With the new events confirmed today, and with the five new sports and 18 new events that were added last year, I believe that the Olympic Games have become much closer to President Bach’s vision, which is for a Games more appealing to young people. During the process, I showed Tokyo 2020’s determination to minimize costs. I’d like to express my appreciation to President (Thomas) Bach and Vice President (JohnCoates for putting together such an amazing event program,” said Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori.

FINA has posted a press release praising the IOC’s decision to add to the Olympic program, and the organization noted that it will supervise 49 total medal events in Tokyo between all the aquatic sports. That full press release is posted below.

Following decisions taken today by the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), FINA expressed its great satisfaction at the addition of three swimming medal events and two women’s water polo teams for the programme of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The additional medal events are 800 metres freestyle (men), 1500 metres freestyle (women) and a 4×100 mixed medley relay.

“Aquatics at the Olympic Games are going from strength to strength,” said FINA President Julio Maglione.

“After earning a place in the top group of sports at the Olympic Games, thanks to the incredible attractiveness of our competitions shown by TV viewers, the IOC has now rewarded us by giving FINA more events on the programme. It is an immense and deeply humbling honour for FINA to have reached the very top.”

At Tokyo 2020, FINA will become the sport with the greatest number (49) of finals on the Olympic programme, with 35 for swimming, eight for diving, two for water polo, two for marathon swimming and two for synchronised swimming.

“The addition of three events for Tokyo 2020 means FINA is well positioned to continue its leadership in terms of broadcast demand and digital interest,” continued President Maglione.

The event additions proposed by FINA and accepted by the IOC fill gender gaps in the swimming programme, with 800 metres and 1500 metres freestyle now being available to both genders. Also helping reach gender equality across aquatics was the IOC’s decision to expand the number of teams in the women’s water polo competition from eight to ten.

“FINA is proud to be a sport that cherishes fundamental Olympic values,” added President Maglione. “These achievements are due to the valuable work and support from our 208 National Member Federations, and respective athletes, coaches and officials, and represent a great responsibility, as we have to work hard not only to maintain our status, but if possible to still improve it in the future.”

The new Olympic swimming events, as well as water polo and the full range of FINA disciplines will be showcased next month during the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest.

In total, 15 new medal events were added for Tokyo, and outside of swimming, the most notable choices were a 3×3 basketball tournament for both men and women and a mixed 4×400 relay in track.

However, many sports that were contested in 2016 will be have less athletes competing in Tokyo. 285 athlete slots were cut from these existing sports, in large part to make room for the new sports added to the Olympic schedule, including baseball, softball and rowing.

Swimming World has been pushing for adding the women’s 1500 freestyle event for years, including in this piece from 2012.

Read more from Inside the Games here. The full Olympic.com press release can be found here.

62 Comments
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5 years ago

Finally distance for women. That’s been contested among the officials since the 70’s. Mixed medley relay. A little surprised. Would have thought mixed free before medley.

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5 years ago

this means ledecky has a potential shot at anywhere from 5-9 golds

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5 years ago

actually 10 if you count the mixed relay but a program like that would be ridiculous

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5 years ago

Can never get enough swimming.

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5 years ago

Awesome! Yay for more distance events.

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5 years ago

Now let’s get the 800meter individual Medley into the Olympics??

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5 years ago

This is awesome ???!

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5 years ago

oh snap! Can’t wait!

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5 years ago

Or the 4x 50 meter free relay??

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5 years ago
Reply to  Pablo Valedon

Yeah I want to see both 200 relays. If not at the Olympics then at least at summer world’s.

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5 years ago
Reply to  Pablo Valedon

Oh yeah forgot about the Medley relay. Definitely needs to be part of swim program.
Really not into mixed relays, but welcome any new change to our sport.

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5 years ago
Reply to  Pablo Valedon

Alec Scott those mixed relay medals will be worthless haha

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5 years ago
Reply to  Pablo Valedon

Clark Smith it just feels too Gimmick to have mixed relays

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5 years ago
Reply to  Pablo Valedon

I agree

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5 years ago

Hunter Smith. It happened!

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5 years ago

Doston Bailey-Gani!

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5 years ago
Reply to  Dirk Smith

Argh no 50s. But good for USA. It basically adding more gold medals. Too bad for the gays. No mixed duos.

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Peyton Quattlebaum

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5 years ago

Mark Perkins

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5 years ago

Tory Windley McHugh Zoe Coffing

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5 years ago
Reply to  Tyler Coffing

Yooo!!!

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5 years ago
Reply to  Tyler Coffing

That mixed medley could be pretty cool

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5 years ago
Reply to  Tyler Coffing

It’s going to be bananas

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5 years ago
Reply to  Tyler Coffing

Definitely

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5 years ago
Reply to  Tyler Coffing

Hell yes! So hype to see this.

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5 years ago

This is so exciting!!! I can’t wait to see what Ledecky can do!

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5 years ago

Laura Crockart finally hey

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5 years ago
Reply to  Sophie Taylor

nice

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5 years ago
Reply to  Sophie Taylor

Tokyo 2020 comeback is now on the cards??

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5 years ago
Reply to  Sophie Taylor

Hahahahahah why do I not believe you ?!

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5 years ago
Reply to  Sophie Taylor

because i cannot get out of bed before 10am ever

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5 years ago

Simon-Pierre Bélanger

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Fuck off ! Enlever les relais mixtes et ajoutez les 50

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5 years ago

Krissy Walden Payton

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5 years ago

Youssef Hammoud

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5 years ago
Reply to  Rowan Elbadry

23ml eh y3ni?

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5 years ago
Reply to  Rowan Elbadry

??

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5 years ago

Wawa Elbos

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5 years ago

The Ledecky train is going to roll harder than ever if that’s possible…..looking at one happy swim fan…

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5 years ago

Bad decision. 50’s are much more of a specialist event than more distance events as history shows the WR for 800 & 1500 are usually held by the same person. If the women are concerned about a real distance event then drop the 800 in favour of the 1500.

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5 years ago

Cool! but not a fan of the mixed medley as anything more than an unofficial event.

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5 years ago

As if there were not enough oportunities for freestylers! How about some more stroke events.

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5 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

800 IM ?

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5 years ago
Reply to  Peter Scott

Nice??

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5 years ago

Henning Mühlleitner ??

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5 years ago
Reply to  HaPe Gratz

Ich als alter feminist find das Klasse!

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5 years ago

Andrew Bryce

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5 years ago

Jack Beachboard

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5 years ago

Matt McDermott

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5 years ago

Mixed medley relay will be interesting. Wonder how they will determine who swims what? I mean will everyone have the men in the same strokes and the women In the same strokes or will it be a free for all?

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5 years ago

Noémi

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5 years ago

Chloé Courtot !!!!!!

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5 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Duret

C’est con, il y a 5 ans on aurait eu l’or maintenant…..

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5 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Duret

toujours le sens du timing haha

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5 years ago

? 50s would be so much more exciting

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5 years ago

But still no 50’s. Much better viewing for the crowd than a women’s 1500

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JS
5 years ago
Reply to  Joanna Argaet

I see you point about excitement. But you suggest removing also the Men’s 1500 because it is also not exciting for the crowd, and then implement the stroke 50’s? I don’t mind the stroke 50s since in modern swimming there is often a big division between 100 and 200 stroke swimmers with a few exceptions of course! But I do think at Olympics men and women should swim the same program. And since distance swimming is partly brute hard work and partly a gift/talent a swimmer has both men and women distance pool swimmers should compete the 800 and the 1500.

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5 years ago

And ….High diving ??

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5 years ago

Hayley Patricia

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5 years ago

Josh Beaver

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5 years ago

Additional distance events are reasonable. “Mixed” relays are a gimmicky stunt to attract a few more viewers until the novelty wears off.

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5 years ago

This is great news for Katie Ledecky has a fantastic chance at 4 individual golds and a possible 2 more golds in the relay events.